Six Tips for Negotiating the Salary You Want

Written by
Brian DeGrazia

Jun 5, 2019

Jun 5, 2019 • by Brian DeGrazia

You’ve received a job offer. Great! How can you set yourself up to get the salary you’re looking for?  Here are six tips for navigating the negotiation process once you’ve received an offer.

  1. Pick a number. You should have a target salary in mind and be ready to state it quickly and openly in case you are asked.
  2. Not just any number. This ideal salary should be based in thorough research. How much do people in this field with training and experience similar to yours make? Sites like Glassdoor and The Chronicle of Higher Education allow you to find out what employees in similar positions are getting paid. If the job is at an academic institution, keep in mind that endowments and resources can vary greatly.
  3. Be specific and direct. The more direct you can be, the better. This means not only doing your research on what people make in roles similar to the one you have been offered but also being ready to articulate precisely what you will be bringing to this organization and how you think it should be valued. Thoughtful, well-articulated reasoning about why you think you should be paid a specific salary or within a range will go much farther than a hardball stance for some high number that lacks concrete reasons backing it up.
  4. Be firm but kind. Thorough preparation and specific reasons will allow you to be firmer in your stance. But striking a balance is important. You want to be up front about your needs and what you think you deserve, but try to think of the process as collaborative as well. This is, after all, the beginning of what will hopefully be a mutually rewarding relationship between you and your employer. And as always, kindness goes a long way. It’s also a good idea to communicate your excitement about the offer and eagerness to begin in the role as you articulate your arguments.
  5. Negotiate beyond the salary. Be ready to negotiate different parts of your offer as well, depending on your priorities and/or the limitations your employer faces. If the employer cannot go above a certain starting salary, might they be open to the possibility of a bonus after your first year? Perhaps more paid time off is a priority for you, or the cost of insurance for your partner or child. If it is an academic position, is the department or dean willing to adjust your teaching load, or your teaching schedule (for example, no classes on Fridays or Mondays so that you can visit your long-distance partner)? What about extra research funding? All of these factors are part of how you are compensated and will contribute to your overall well-being once you start.
  6. Start preparing well before you get an offer. You’ll want to start your research about salaries, benefits, and compensation during the application or interview process. But longer-term preparation can also help greatly with the delicacy and at times difficulty of negotiating an offer and a salary. The cultivation of a broad professional network and closer relationships with a few trusted mentors will provide you with an invaluable support system that you can call on when the time comes to negotiate.